Drama

Kanazawa by David Joiner

This is a very different story than the ones I usually encounter. In this narrative, our lead protagonist is an American settled in Japan with a Japanese wife and living with his in-laws. This is the basic premise, and everything that happens takes off from there.
I felt certain things were repetitive, like the protagonist commenting on his mother-in-law’s figure at least three times more than required for the story. I mention this in the very beginning because it felt disruptive and played a significant role in what I felt for the book as a whole (I know it might seem like a minor point, but still…)
Everyone introduced to us is at a crossroads, with all five members of the extended family grappling with what they should consider as their purpose. Emmitt wants to quit his job and live in a more traditional Japanese setting. When the latter part falls through, he has to convince people around him that he knows what he is doing. His wife is definitely not on the level as him when it comes to thoughts of their future. Although it seemed a little stilted, given their long relationship, their interactions (or the lack thereof) made sense in the bigger picture. The parents struggle with their own mortality and balance, while the sister struggles with being the only person supposedly living the dream.
The storyline itself was not for me. I would not have been able to work my way through the whole book if not for the unique perspective of living as a local while obviously sticking out in some ways. In the end, I appreciated the pictures and people introduced to me.
I would recommend it to anyone who does not mind a slow read about a place and culture that might be foreign and viewed from a different lens.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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